Academic Excellence

Craighead has a reputation for lifting the performance of its students. This is the result of fine teaching and pride in seeing the girls achieve good results.

  • Our school philosophy is that many students may have unrealized potential. Therefore, we encourage a process of self-discovery.
  • Performance is closely measured from the time a student enters the school and progress is carefully monitored.
  • There is a strong work ethic where positive expectations fuel students’ willingness to strive to be the best they can be.
  • Entry to the school is not based on academic ability. We enjoy diversity and helping every girl to discover her capabilities. There are no assumptions, no limitations. In the Craighead environment, girls have the capacity to excel. Indeed, Craighead girls perform well above the national average in all subjects.
  • Education goes further than the classroom. We are concerned with preparing our students with skills and strategies that will help them throughout life.

  Junior School – Years 7 & 8

These are important years, as they are the bridge from a child to a young adult. We encourage our girls to become independent, lifelong learners and critical thinkers, to participate in team activities and to work alongside senior students.

There is a strong family feeling within the school which makes all of the girls feel valued. Our Year 7 & 8 girls enjoy having contact with the Years 9 to 13 students and are always included in ‘whole’ school events, such as assemblies, productions and interhouse activities. Each Year 7 girl is paired with a Year 8 girl in a Big Sister/Little Sister relationship. Each class is also joined by Year 13 Peer Support mentors on a weekly basis.  The senior students enjoy organising activities with our Year 7 & 8’s such as shared end-of-term lunches.

The strengths and abilities of all learners are recognised and catered for accordingly. Those girls who require extra support are given the opportunity to have both individual and small group guidance. Those girls who require extension are encouraged to take part in a wide variety of opportunities both in and out of the classroom.

Not only does our junior school enjoy the small limited-size classes of 22 students, but they also benefit from having classes with specialist teachers – (Art, Drama, French, German, Maori, Music, Physical Education, Religious and Social Education, and Science.) Our girls are in their Homeroom, with their Homeroom Teacher for the Core subjects of English, Mathematics and Social Studies. Once a week they are offsite at the local area Technology Centre where they are exposed to all areas of the Technology Curriculum.

  Middle School – Years 9 & 10

Innovation, inquiry and curiosity are best fostered when students are allowed sufficient time and opportunity to develop an understanding of subject content linked to familiar contexts. Learning strategies are expanded and developed through excellent teaching practice and with high expectations.

Years 9 and 10, a transition from Junior to Senior school, sees the introduction to Secondary education. Our programme for these year groups develops learning strategies and the skills needed in preparation for the coming senior years. Balanced by the students’ participation in a variety of extra and co-curricular activities, these strategies supplement their academic programme. We heartily encourage involvement in a wide range of activities and individual pursuits. (Opportunities are offered in various areas of sport, culture, art, social justice and spiritual awareness). The use of technology is designed to complement learning in each curriculum area. This can involve research, communication, document creation, multimedia presentations, podcasts, exploration into computer science or creative subjects. Although technology is used across all year levels, in Years 9 and 10 our girls use their device of choice. Collaborative shareware and software enhance learning experiences making technology an effective tool for teaching and learning in the school today. Outdoor Education camps bookmark the beginning and the end of the middle school programme. In the first term each year our Year 9 girls have a camp. This is designed for the girls to get to know each other as well as form new friendships. In Year 10, at the end of their Middle School years, our girls enjoy a week together currently in Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury. This camp focuses on physical skills, fun, participation and co-operation before the girls progress into the Senior school.

  Senior School – Years 11, 12 & 13

We offer a strong academic programme with a wide variety of subject options taught by specialist teachers, and in NCEA, Craighead girls consistently achieve well above the national average, comparing favourably with other decile 8 – 10 girls’ schools in New Zealand.

We encourage service and leadership alongside extra-curricular opportunities to ensure every senior girl is involved in some sport, music, drama, debating or other activities where they participate generously and enthusiastically. Senior students fine-tune their time management skills as they take greater responsibility for managing their involvement in the wide range of extra-curricular activities offered. Career development and decision making is assisted through career education programmes at different year levels and professional career counselling. In Years 11, 12 and 13, students have increased leadership responsibility and are role models for younger students. The leadership opportunities we offer senior students, including a buddy system and peer support and community service programmes, help them to learn to manage change, become resilient and work with diversity. Having received an holistic education within our strong pastoral care system, our senior girls leave us as compassionate, confident young women who are prepared to be involved and lead in whatever direction their interests take them.

‘Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all’

Aristotle

  Gifted and Talented

Gifted and Talented students are identified, nurtured, supported and encouraged to develop their talents and giftedness in a wide range of areas.

The small size of our school means that staff readily gain a sense of the many and varying strengths and abilities that each girl brings to the school. This in turn allows us to mentor and nurture gifted students as they move through to their Senior years at Craighead. The Craighead Mission Statement means the school actively supports girls to strive towards excellence in any field of endeavour. This is particularly evident in the flexibility the school demonstrates by fostering talents in extra-curricular activities not necessarily offered at Craighead, such as Highland Dancing or Equestrian pursuits. We encourage higher-order thinking through actively supporting girls to participate in Gifted and Talented Days such as the Julie Arliss Conference, exploring issues in big picture conversations during Breakfast Club meetings, or in challenging traditional thinking during Religious Education ethics debates. Students who are Gifted and Talented academically are provided with numerous opportunities to participate in subject-related competitions and scholarship classes. The nurturing of academic, sporting, cultural and artistic talents means that Craighead consistently produces girls who are successful in both Regional and National competitions. Weekly assemblies and newsletters are where we celebrate the success of Gifted and Talented students with the whole school and wider community. Girls may also be invited to present to our Assemblies as “Inspirational speakers”.

 Learning Support

Our teachers know their students very well. They share learning information about students and discuss the best ways to support individuals. Any students who require extra support with their learning are identified and appropriately supported.

Teachers regularly ask students about their learning and use this information to adapt and improve learning programmes. They also provide timely and useful feedback to students about their learning. As part of the Year 9 and Year 11 Option programme there is a Support Studies tutorial which runs alongside regular programmes of study for students who require learning support in literacy and/or numeracy. This programme is offered in place of one option to enable students needing support to improve their literacy and numeracy skills and to assist them in adapting to the requirements of the Year 9 or 11 curriculum. Individual education programmes are developed to meet the needs of each student. Further enquiries about the Support Studies option are encouraged from interested students and parents. Tutorials are regularly run by some subject teachers while other tutorials are run on an as-needs basis, especially for Senior examination preparation.

  Pastoral Care

Our Team:

Craighead’s Pastoral team includes the Principal, Deputy Principal, Chaplain, Guidance Counsellor, Deans, International Student Director, and Director of Boarding. Our Pastoral team meets on a regular basis focussing on our girls’ physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological wellbeing (hauora).

Our girls are cared for with a focus on the development of the whole person. Craighead has a positive school culture which is seen in the caring and respectful way the girls and staff interact with each other. It is also evident in how students consider and support each other.

Craighead prides itself on the holistic care it provides for each and every one of its students. We model our mission statement in that we are “committed to the pursuit of excellence in all fields of endeavour (spiritual, academic, physical and cultural) with emphasis on the development of each girl within a caring, Christian family atmosphere, so that each is well educated, responsible, confident and capable of contributing to society.” Our strong sense of family can be felt from Years 7 through to Year 13, from Boarder to Daygirl.

  Elearning and Devices

Innovation and collaboration are at the heart of 21st Century learning. Over the past few years, Craighead has been encouraging the use of portable learning devices as tools across all levels of the school for teaching and learning.

An important point not to lose sight of is that it’s the teacher, not the technology that makes the difference. Thus the best one to one ‘device’ in the classroom is a great teacher! Following our successful trial using iPads a couple of years ago, there was a noticeable increase in collaboration and innovation by both students and teachers, see: http//edtalks.org/video/secondary-ipad-use
Information Technology at Craighead is designed to complement learning in each curriculum area during our girls’ time here, involving research, communications, document creation and file storage. Every girl is given a network account and password which provides controlled access to network resources. They are provided with access to storage space, an e-mail account, plus access and ability to use any of the networked printers or copiers.
For network security, we use an advanced firewall and content filtering system in order to ensure safe internet browsing and fair sharing of the internet bandwidth for all users. Centrally controlled anti-virus software is used on all of our computers. Advanced anti-spam filters ensure that only meaningful and appropriate e-mail reaches the girls’ mailboxes.

Extensive research, both in New Zealand and globally, has shown that access to portable devices (including laptops) leads to:

  • improve teaching and learning practices
  • increase student achievement, engagement and motivation
  • improve student writing and research
  • enhance effective collaboration and communication

Students with portable devices can:
  • access online course material to support their learning
  • benefit from improved access to intranet app for timetable, school notices etc
  • use web based tools such as Google Docs to interact with their teachers
  • Immediately access appropriate online resources to support their learning at the moment they are required without disengaging from a lesson, or group work to ‘go find out’
  • Collaborate with their teachers and their peers in their learning, using a range of different tools
  • Collaborate with teachers and peers from other institutions
  • Continue to develop critical and analytical thinking skills by engaging in online forums and discussions
  • Engage with visual, written and video tasks during class time.